Belfast Telegraph

How to eat and drink sensibly this Christmas

By Joseph Pond

Lots of people have begun asking me recently how to lose weight in the New Year. During a conversation I had the other day, a client acknowledged they'd need help to shed the extra pounds because, as they put it, "this is a bad time of year to lose weight." The fact is, the best way to maintain a healthy body shape is to eat sensibly in the first place.

I'm as susceptible as anyone to all the alcohol, mince pies, puddings, chocolate and turkey that the festive season offers. I'm not pretending to be a guru; on the contrary, it's because I also wallow in the excesses of gluttony at Christmas time that I'm able to share with you what is helpful to me. We're in this together.

First of all, the season produces stress in people. This is bad news for people who comfort eat. If you're already freaking out about the queues, traffic, expenses, obligations and more, you are much more likely to overindulge when you finally breathlessly arrive at the annual office do. Here's a secret - people stress unconsciously, but relax consciously. In other words, tension can creep up on you in such a way that's hardly noticeable, so you have to purposely set aside a little me time to breathe, relax and soften your muscles.

One reason why things such as being stuck in holiday traffic are stress-inducing is because we interpret them as negatives. We think: "Now I'll be late, which means that I can't do that because this will be ruined so that..."

We experience the present as an opportunity to be anxious about the future. Stop it. Breathe. Be in the moment.

Take time to smell the coffee ... literally. This will help with overindulging. Be mindful as you reach for another chocolate. Enjoy it as fully as possible. Experience the aromas, textures and flavours of the season. Eating mindfully will make it much more likely for you to hear your body's signals to stop when you've had enough. Email me if you want a free recording on how to drink mindfully.

  • Joseph Pond is a clinical hypnotherapist, an acupuncturist, and a mindfulness instructor. He is co-founder of Hypnosis Explorers NI and conducts workshops in hypnosis with PowerTrance.Reach him at or at Hypnosis/ ?ref=hl/?ref=hl

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